Friends Provident, which in 2007 failed in its plans to merge with Resolution, is undertaking a strategic review that could lead to a sale of all or part of the company.
Sir Adrian Montague, the executive chairman of the life insurer, is reported to be opposed to an outright sale of the business but some analysts are expressing the view that the UK’s fourth-largest life insurer does not have an independent future.
The review could result in major changes to Friends’ core UK life business, including a reduction in the commissions paid to brokers and the withdrawal of certain capital-intensive products.
Zurich Financial Services, Old Mutual and AXA are three possible bidders for the company.
Life insurance: News update: January 2008